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Outer Banks firefighter responding to a lightning strike is hit by lightning

The Carolinas have had both injuries and a death from lightning strikes this month.
The Carolinas have had both injuries and a death from lightning strikes this month. BELLEVILLE NEWS-DEMOCRAT

A volunteer firefighter responding to a call about a lightning strike was himself hit by lightning Tuesday evening on North Carolina’s Outer Banks, reports the Carolina Fire Page.

It happened in the village of Corolla and a nearby man was also shocked by the bolt, Carolina Fire Page reported. The firefighter is a chief with Carova Fire and Rescue, said a Facebook post by the department.

Both men were hospitalized and released, according to the Outer Banks Voice.

The firefighter was identified as Fire Chief Jay Laughmiller, and the second victim was a vacationer who was pointing Laughmiller to a suspected brush fire started by lightning, reported TV station WTKR.

Both experienced a “loud crack and flash of light,” which Laughmiller believes came from “a splash” of lightning rather than a direct hit, the station reported. “It basically felt like somebody hit me over head with a frying pan,” Laughmiller told WTKR.

The Carolinas have had other lightning strikes this month involving people. On July 7, a man and woman were struck by lightning on the Isle of Palms in South Carolina, knocking the man unconscious and sending the woman into cardiac arrest, reported WCBD. A child who was standing nearby was also hospitalized, the station reported.

The two adults were struck while in the water, reported the Associated Press.

Correction: An earlier version of this article reported N.C. had a 2018 lightning-related fatality. That death was in 2017.

Mark Price: 704-358-5245, @markprice_obs
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